EBS partnership – a conversation with TORA’s Chris Jenkins
The last few months have seen some interesting collaborations and partnerships being struck in the FX world, as technology rapidly evolves alongside broker demands for integrated, seamless solutions.
One of the interesting deals which caught our eye was the collaboration announced between CME Group’s EBS and TORA, a provider of cloud-based, multi-asset order and execution management systems (OEMS), to link EBS Market and EBS Direct’s FX liquidity with TORA’s multi-asset platform.
We thought that it would be a good time to catch up with TORA Managing Director Chris Jenkins, to find out more about the agreement as well as what’s going on generally at the company.
FNG: Hi Chris, and thanks for joining us today. We recently reported about a collaboration between TORA and EBS, one of leading and better-known FX ECNs. How did that come about? And what are you and EBS seeking to achieve with it?
Chris: The collaboration with EBS enables market participants to connect directly to Liquidity Providers through EBS right inside the TORA OEMS. This means that they can now view and trade FX side by side with all other asset classes, all through a single platform.
The partnership was set up as part of an ongoing effort to expand TORA’s multi asset OEMS offering. Over the last few years TORA’s clients have moved away from the legacy point-to-point FX trading via their prime broker toward an aggregator model. We at TORA wanted to expand our FX capabilities to support this trend.
We faced the decision as to whether to create individual connections out to the FX endpoints and liquidity providers (LPs), or if we should team up with a partner that had already done that heavy lifting. We determined that partnership is the best approach, and we chose to work with EBS as one of the world’s leading FX trading platforms, due to their long. track record providing global primary aggregated FX liquidity since the1990s. By collaborating with EBS, TORA’s OEMS can execute and monitor trades across hundreds of FX providers.
TORA clients gain access to expanded FX capabilities while EBS can tap into TORA’s equities, fixed income, derivatives products. TORA’s real time GL and SWAP financing inside its integrated portfolio management system streamlines the FX trading lifecycle.
FNG: The past year has seen record client trading volumes. What has changed in TORA’s business during the “COVID era”?
Chris: In a word, nothing.
TORA was designed and deployed to work in the cloud. We’ve always known that flexible, scalable, cloud-based systems are now the baseline for successful and sustainable operations. Infrastructure must be decentralized while functionality is integrated. The pandemic provided confirmation on a massive scale of our approach.
We saw a rise in demand across the forex market for cloud-based services. At the same time, providers on the buy and sell-side looked to streamline the number of technology providers. Even at larger, multi-national funds, where individual responsibilities may be further divided, funds are increasingly benefiting from not having two different systems. No matter the size, funds get meaningful benefits by streamlining their technology systems and software.
Companies want one simple system that can be accessed by all trading desks and middle and back office staff to easily see trading information and operational data. Asset managers want simplicity but aren’t willing to sacrifice on functionality. This is the appeal of TORA’s integrated portfolio management, execution management and order management in a single place can go a long way towards this goal.
FNG: Do you see institutions getting more active in crypto investing and trading?
Chris: The “crypto economy” is increasingly being dominated by institutional investors. They’ve gone from tentative first steps to more substantive investments in digital assets. We have long seen the need for institutional-level infrastructure in this space, which is why we launched our crypto trading platform named Caspian.
Caspian is a separate company with the same legacy and much of the same team as TORA. It is a complete asset management solution that covers the full lifecycle of crypto trades. It offers digital asset investors a fully developed OEMS, PMS, algos and reporting. The platform provides a single interface into all major crypto exchanges and OTC providers, a complete suite of sophisticated crypto trading algorithms, real-time and historical P&L, exposure tracking and professional customer service.
FNG: What else can we expect to hear from TORA in the coming months?
Chris: In a time of mergers and acquisitions, TORA remains the truly independent trading software provider in the market. Our independence means that we are fully committed to each and every single one of our clients, no matter how small or large, and that they’re benefiting from better products, delivered at greater speed and higher levels of customization.
Our independence allows us to singularly focus on developing products that make sense for our current and future client based. Expect future innovation to enhance the capabilities of our multi-asset integrated system, incorporating advanced technology and user feedback.
This unique offering has attracted a lot of interest from prominent FX players as they continue to centralise their workplace solutions into a single platform as opposed to opting for a fragmented, decentralized environment.
We are hard at work developing new features and improving existing ones, including our FX auto-hedging function for equity pairs trading. The solution sits within TORA’s market-leading equity pairs trading algo suite and delivers advanced operational trading efficiencies. The FX function offers automatic hedging for clients’ cross currency equity pairs and equity derivatives trading. This development will be welcomed by many risk arb desks where managing FX exposure is essential to performance.